Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/671

This page needs to be proofread.
601

APOCRYPHA


601


APOCRYPHA


the Western Empire (476), ami duiiiif; the ^reat dogmatic controversies in the (Irctk Chmc-h. these papal representatives at Constantinople took on gradually the character of permanent lepites and were accounted the most important and responsible among the papal envoys. The first of these apoc- risiarii seems to have been Julianas, Hishop of Cos, accredited by St. Leo the Cireat to the court of Em- peror Marcian (450— 1.">7) for a considerable period of time during the Monophysite heresies. From then until 743, when all relations between Rome and Constantinople were severed during the iconoclastic troubles, there were always, apart from a few brief intervals, apocrisiarii in Constantinople. On ac- count of the import.ince of the office, only capable and trustworthy members of the Roman Clergy were selected for such missions. Thus Gregory I, while Deacon of the Roman Church, served in Hyzantium for several years as apocrisiarius. .Vt the court of the exarch at Ravenna the Pope also had a per- aianent apocrisiarius. In turn, at lea.st tluring the reign of (iregory I, the archbisliop of that city had a special responsalis at the pap.al court. From the reign of Charlemagne (d. SI4) we find apocrisiarii at the court of the Frankish kings, but they are only royal archchaplains decorated with the title of the ancient papal envoys.

TiioMASftiNus, Vetus el nova eccl. disciplina circa beneficia <ea. London, 1700, I, 569 sqq.) Ft. I, Bk. II, cvii-cxi; Hino- JIAM. Origines sive antiquitates ecclesiaetiar (ed. Halle, 1725) II, 77 8qq.: in, xiii, art. G; Luxakdo, Das pUpstliche Vorde- kretalen-Geaandtachaftsrecht (Innsbruck, 1878).

J. P. KmscH.

Apocrypha. — The scope of this article takes in those compositions which profess to have been writ- ten either by Biblical [Personages or men in intimate relations with them. Such known works as the Shep- herd of Hermas, the Epistle of Harnabas, the Didache, or Teaching, of the Twelve .\postles, and the Apos- tolic Canons and Constitutions, though formally apocryphal, really belong to patristic literature, and are considered independently. It has been deemed better to classify the Biljlical apocrypha according to their origin, instead of following the misleading division of the apocrypha of the Old and New Tes- taments. Broadly speaking, the apocrj pha of Jew- ish origin are coextensive with what are styled of tlie Old Testament, and those of Christian origin with the apocrypha of the New Testament. The subject will be treated as follows: (1) Apocrypha of Jewish origin; (II) Apocrypha of Jewish origin witli Chris- tian accretions; (ifl) Apocrypha of Christian origin, comprising (I) .4pocryphal Gospels, (2) Pilate litera- ture and other apocrypha concerning Christ, (.3) Apoc- ryphal Acts of the .\postlcs. (4) Apocrj'plial doctrinal works, (5) Apocrj'phal Epistles, (fi) Apocrj'phal Apocalypses; (IV) The Apocrypha and the Church.

Na-MK ash Notio.v. — Etymologically, tlie deriva- tion of .\pocr>'pha is very simple, being from the Greek diriicpi/^os, hidden, and corresponding to the neuter plural of the adjective. The use of the sing- ular, ".Vpocrj-phon", is both legitimate and conve- nient, wlien referring to a single work. When we would attempt to seize the literary sense attaching to the word, the task is not so easy. It has l>een employed in various ways by early patristic writers, who have sometimes entirely lost sight of the ety- mology. Thus it has the connotation "uncanoni- cal" with some of them. St. Jerome evidently aj)- plied the term to all quasi-scriptural Iwoks which in his estimation lay outside the canon of Holy Writ, and the Protestant Reformers, following Jerome's catalogue of Old Testament Scriptures — one which wa-s at once erroneous and singular among the Fathers of the Church — applied the title .\porrj'pha to the excess of the Catholic canon of the Old Tes- tament over that of the Jews. Naturally, Catholics


refuse to admit such a denomination, and we employ " deuterocanonical " to designate this literature, which non-Catholics conventionally and improperly know as the " Apocryjjha ". (.See Cano.m of the Old Te.hta.ment.) The original and proper .sen.se of the term aimcryphnl a-s applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured. But a clue to it may l)e recognized in the so-called Fourth Book of l^sdras, which relates that Esdias (Ezra) by divine inspiration compo.sed ninety-four books. Of the.se, twenty-four were restorations of the sacred literature of the Israelites which had perished in the Captiv- ity; they were to be published openly, but the re- maining were to be guarded in .secret for the exclusive use of the wise (cf. l)an., xii, 4, 9, where the prophet is bidden to shut up and seal an inspired book until an appointed time). Accordingly it may be accepted as liiglily ])robable that in its original meaning an apocryphal writing had no unfavourable import, but simply denoted a composition which claimed a sacred origin, and w;us supposed to have been hidden for generations, either absolutely, awaiting the due time of its revelation, or relatively, inasmuch as knowledge of it was confined to a limited esoteric circle. How- ever, the name .Vpocryiiha soon came to have an un- favourable signification which it still retains, com- porting both want of genuineness and canonicity. These are the negati\e asjjects of the modern appli- cation of the name; on its ])ositive side it is properly employed only of a well ciefined class of literature, putting forth .scriptural or (piasi-scriptural preten- sions, and which originated in part among the He- brews during the two centuries preceding Christ and for a space after, and in part among Christians, both orthodox and heterodox, in the early centuries of our era.

I. Apocrypha of Jewish Origin. — Ancient litera- ture, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and Occidental culture. Pseudographic com- position was in vogue among the Jews in the two centuries before Christ and for some time later. The attribution of a great name of the distant pivst to a book by its real author, who thus effaced his own personality, was, in some ciises at least, a mere lit- erary fiction which deceived no one except the ig- norant. This holds good for the so-called "Wisdom of Solomon", written in Greek and belonging to the Church's sacred canon. In other cases, where the assumed name did not stand as a symbol of a ty|)e of a certain kind of literature, the intention was not without a degree of at least objective literary dis- honesty. The most important and valuable of the extant Jewish apocryplia are those which have a large apocalyptic element; that is, which profess to contain visions and revelations of the unseen world and the Messianic future. Jewish apocalyptic lit- erature is a theme which deserves and has increas- ingly received the attention of all interested in the development of the religious thought of Israel, that body of concepts and tendencies in which are fixed the roots of the great doctrinal principles of Chris- tianity itself, just as its Divine Founder took His temporal generation from the stock of orthodox Ju- daism. The Jewish apocalypses furnish the com- pleting links in the progress of Jewish theology and fill what would otherwise be a gap, though a small one, between the advanced stage marked by the deuterocanonical books and its full maturity in the time of Our Lord; a maturitj' so relatively perfect that Jesus could suppose as existing in the popular consciousness, without teaching dc novo, the doctrines of future retribution, the resurrection of the l>o<ly, and the existence, nature, and office of angels. Jew- ish apocalyptic is an attempt to supply the place of Crophecy. which had been dead for centuries, and it as its roots in the sacred oracles of Israel. Hebrew